ZIMBABWE must be the only country on this planet that does not allow its aged, ailing leaders to have a piece of mind. Daily, thousands of pensioners sleep and wake up in bank queues trying to access the paltry rewards of decades of faithful dedication to the building of this country. And as if this is not sad enough, we have thousands of more people failing to even access a small tablet to relieve pain in a country whose misery has long gone beyond being bearable.
But most astounding is when we have leaders who have access to money and the best medication money can buy refusing to retire from public office and let all the money they have amassed to give them peace of mind. A case in point is of our beloved Vice President Constantino Guvheya Chiwenga, who has been not so-well for quite some time now, despite making a brief appearance in public recently.
The man was supposed to be acting President after President Emmerson Mnangagwa went on leave early this month, but Mnangagwa had to return to office simply because, we hear, Chiwenga is nowhere to be seen. Chiwenga’s case is both touching and embarrassing for Zimbabwe.
Chiwenga’s case is, on the one hand, touching in that Chiwenga, at 63 years, should not only be enjoying his pension after serving in the national army since Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980, but enjoying the fruits of having helped liberate this country from colonial rule. On the other hand, his case is embarrassing because unwell as he is, should we not allow him to quietly fade out of the public glare and convalesce in peace?
Why is he being forced to remain in office when everything is pointing to the fact that the man is indeed struggling to optimally perform his duties? What favour are we doing to him or ourselves by keeping him in office when it is obvious that the man really needs to rest? Are our demands on him not helping to worsen his health? Where is our heart as a nation? What kind of love is that of making someone who is unwell to work, especially in old age?
Or is it Chiwenga himself who is refusing to retire from public office? If this is the case, why is he holding the nation to ransom by continuing to occupy a public office he clearly is not fit to keep holding on to? Why does it even appear that this whole issue is taboo to freely discuss it? What does he hope to achieve by making himself suffer by continuing to work when he is unwell? What does the Constitution even say about this? Or maybe this has nothing to do with the Constitution. And if this has nothing to do with the supreme law of the land, then we are, indeed, a heartless nation.